A non-divisional game the week before the biggest league game of the season would trip up plenty of high school football teams.
But not Foxborough.
The Warriors (7-2, 2-1) came out to play Friday on senior night at Ahern Field, easily dismantling East Bridgewater, 28-8.
"It could have been a trap game, but these kids are too intelligent to let that happen," said Foxborough head coach Jack Martinelli following his team's fifth win over the last six games.
Instead of being "trapped" by a non-divisional opponent, the Warriors were focused and dominant, playing with the level of intensity you would expect to see from them next week in Sharon.
"[Divisional vs. non-divisional games] don’t matter to me," Martinelli said. "It doesn’t matter to the kids. That’s one thing they’ve learned ... no matter who they play ... when your reputation is on the line you give everything you have."
And Foxborough did Friday night.
The Warriors' defense forced six turnovers, including four first-half interceptions to lead Foxborough to a decisive, 28-8 victory in what will be the team's final tune-up before next Saturday's showdown with Davenport Division leader Sharon. Foxborough is currently one game behind Sharon in the Hockomock League Davenport Division standings.
"I guess it’s kind of a second chance for us," Martinelli said of next week's game in Sharon. "These kids are getting smart enough to realize if you believe in something than good things can happen and at least we have a shot at [the division title]."
On Friday, Foxborough built a 21-0 lead by halftime thanks in large part to the Warriors forcing one fumble and intercepting four Andrew Benson passes in the first half.
"That was pretty good against a pretty good passer," Martinelli said of the four interceptions. "We were happy with that, we got enough pressure on him to make those plays. Those four kids [in Foxborough's secondary] are veteran players back there. They’ve been a pretty darn good group."
Following an East Bridgewater fumble recovered by Foxborough, the Warriors scored with just under four minutes to play in the first quarter on a perfect, 19-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Mike Slaby to senior Nick DiTullio. The point after was good and Foxborough led 7-0.
Then with just over six minutes to play in the first half, Foxborough's Brendan Lovely intercepted Benson at East Bridgewater's 25-yard line and returned it down to the Vikings' 15-yard line. From there, Foxborough junior running back Luc Valenza scored on an 8-yard run with 3:36 to play in the half. The point after was good and Foxborough took a 14-0 lead.
On East Bridgewater's next possession, Foxborough senior Alex Pacitti intercepted Benson at the Vikings' 45-yard line with three minutes left. That turnover led to a 2-yard run by Warriors' running back Kiivone Howard - his 19th rushing touchdown of the season with 1:33 to play in the half. The point after was good and Foxborough built a 21-0 lead.
Benson would throw two more interceptions before the half concluded - one to Drew McGeary and another to Pacitti - his second interception of the game - in the end zone with no time on the clock following a Foxborough personal foul penalty.
Foxborough took the 21-0 lead into halftime and increased it to 28-0 late in the third quarter on a drive that began on the Warriors' own 11-yard line, which ended with an 18-yard Slaby pass to Jess Todd in the end zone with 51 seconds left in the third. The touchdown strike was Slaby's second of the game greater than 10 yards.
"He threw the ball right on the money tonight," Martinelli said of Slaby's effort. "Very happy with his performance."
East Bridgewater finally got on the board with 6:01 to play in the fourth quarter. The Vikings' backup quarterback Mike Kelly connected on an 18-yard touchdown pass to Owen Harrington. The two-point conversion was good - a short run by Sean Pierce.
Foxborough inserted its second string into the lineup and remained focused until the clock read zero and the scoreboard showed a 28-8 victory.
Friday's game - and victory - was meaningful to Martinelli because it was senior night for 36 Warriors.
"Tremendous [effort]," Martinelli said. "Every senior stepped on that field. The win is important for going into next week and Thanksgiving, but the fact that every senior got on the field and played was catamount to us."
Martinelli said this senior class was special to him because of their work ethic, intangibles and dedication to the program.
"They are extremely intelligent," Martinelli said of his senior class. "They’ve raised the bar for us for the next couple of years with their work ethic from last December to where we are now in November. They’re a pretty unselfish group of kids and I think their intelligence and keeping everything in perspective, undaunted with advisory and injury. It’s a special group, you can’t coach and you can’t teach that. That comes from home and comes from within."
The following seniors were recognized during Foxborough High School's senior night:
- Jalen Reed
- Mike Slaby
- Mike Maquire
- Adam Saltis
- Dre McGeary
- Tyler Ames
- Alex Pacitti
- Mike Tally
- Tim Walton
- Nick DiTullio
- Kiivone Howard
- Tim Dure
- Darius Holmes
- Scott McDonald
- Tim Freitas
- Brendan Lovely
- Mike Campbell
- Kyle Valanzola
- Connor Caprece
- Zach Atanasoff
- Dan McNeil
- John Abdou
- Ryan Smith
- Mike Bradley
- Tyler Elfman
- Paul Nader
- Brian Booth
- Jake Panico
- Alfred Henriquez
- Nick Snow
- Jake Harrington
- Cole Gunn
- Luigi Carbone
- John Chamberlin
- Matt Marino
- Alton George